2 Arkansas golfers win national awards

By: Matt Jones
Published: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Kaylee Benton of Arkansas chips onto the 13th green Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during her match with Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest in the Women's NCAA Golf Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Kaylee Benton of Arkansas chips onto the 13th green Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during her match with Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest in the Women's NCAA Golf Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas senior golfers Maria Fassi and Kaylee Benton were named national award winners Wednesday.

Fassi, who won the individual NCAA championship Monday at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, was named Ping Division I national player of the year by the Women's Golf Coaches Association. Benton was named the winner of the Dinah Shore Trophy by the LPGA Foundation.

Fassi is the first Arkansas golfer to win the Ping player of the year award. Criteria considered by the WGCA includes scoring average, placement in regular-season tournaments and tournament wins, head-to-head competition and strength of schedule.

"I'm really excited to get the award," Fassi said during an interview on Golf Channel. "I was pretty bummed I didn't get it last year, to be fair, but I'm very excited I was able to come through this year. It's tough out there and to be recognized with that award means so much to me."

The last player to win the Ping award and individual NCAA championship in the same season was Southern Cal's Annie Park in 2013.

It is the second national player of the year award Fassi has won. She was recipient of the Annika Award in 2018.

Benton is the third Arkansas golfer to win the Shore Trophy. Past Arkansas recipients were Stacy Lewis in 2007 and Emily Tubert in 2014.

Requirements for the Shore Trophy include a scoring average of 78 or lower, a 3.2 grade-point average and demonstration of leadership skills and community service.

Benton had the lowest scoring average on Arkansas' team this season at 72.15, and she was runner-up to Fassi at the SEC Golf Championships in April.

According to a press release announcing Benton's win, her community service included volunteer work for a Hurricane Harvey canned food drive, in her church's children's ministry and at the Boys & Girls Club, and reading to students at Fayetteville-area schools.

"I'm very proud of that," Benton said. "I worked really hard this year and I try so hard to contribute to this program and this world in other ways besides just golf."

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